Ben Hearn­den

The char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tor is Stu­dio Soi’s lat­est re­cruit

ImagineFX - - Sketchbook Brian Kesinger -

How did you get your job at Soi?

I ap­plied in Oc­to­ber 2016 and got the job one month later. I saw shows they did on TV back in the UK – like The Gruf­falo – and loved them. Plus there was the chance to work in an­other coun­try for a while.

What does your role in­volve?

I’m one of the 3D an­i­ma­tors, so I move the char­ac­ters on-screen around. I’m work­ing on a chil­dren’s CG TV se­ries. The team are a few episodes in, which is great be­cause it en­ables me to get a feel for the style of the show.

What’s the most chal­leng­ing part of your job?

I’m in­fa­mous among peo­ple I’ve worked with be­fore for push­ing poses on char­ac­ters to the ab­so­lute lim­its, and mak­ing char­ac­ters look a bit over the top. It’s great for big car­toony things, but this show has real charm to it, which is helped in no small part by the sub­tle char­ac­ter per­for­mances in the an­i­ma­tion. So I’m re­ally try­ing to work on sim­ple, smaller poses for char­ac­ters and at­tempt­ing to get an au­di­ence’s re­ac­tion from that.

What’s it like to work at Stu­dio Soi?

It’s nerve-wrack­ing – ev­ery­one here is so tal­ented. I feel like I’ve won a com­pe­ti­tion to be work­ing here. But the staff are some of the friendli­est peo­ple you’ll ever meet. Ev­ery­one has made me feel so wel­come, which is so im­por­tant, es­pe­cially when deal­ing with the cul­ture shock of mov­ing to a new coun­try for a job.

What sort of train­ing have you un­der­taken so far?

The su­per­vis­ing an­i­ma­tor here has gone through the shots with me, eas­ing me into the style of the show by do­ing a few test shots. He’s al­ready teach­ing me a lot about the power of more sub­tle, sub­dued char­ac­ter poses when an­i­mat­ing char­ac­ters. He’s also re­ally helped to show me what an an­i­ma­tor can do to re­tain qual­ity an­i­ma­tion, but to do it with speed, which is al­ways one of the most im­por­tant things in a show like this.

What ad­vice would you give to a young artist want­ing to work some­where like Stu­dio Soi?

I’m try­ing so hard not to sound like a cliché, but hon­estly: work hard, have fun an­i­mat­ing and let that show in your reel when you ap­ply. Stu­dios get hun­dreds of ap­pli­ca­tions and there’s a load of com­pe­ti­tion, so it’s a huge help if you can stand out from the crowd.

https://vimeo.com/user5897285 When not work­ing on Stu­dio Soi’s new stop­mo­tion-style CG TV se­ries for kids, Bri­tish char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tor Ben is get­ting used to life in Ger­many.

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